- Mar 2023
Sustainable consumption scholars offer several explanations forwhy earth-friendly, justice-supporting consumers falter when itcomes to translating their values into meaningful impact.
- earth-friendly, justice-supporting consumers cannot translate their values into meaningful impact.
- “the shading and distancing of commerce” Princen (1997) is an effect of information assymetry.
- producers up and down a supply chain can hide the negative social and environmental impacts of their operations, putting conscientious consumers at a disadvantage. //
- this is a result of the evolution of alienation accelerated by the industrial revolution that created the dualistic abstractions of producers and consumers.
- Before that, producers and consumers lived often one and the same in small village settings
- After the Industrial Revolution, producers became manufacturers with imposing factories that were cutoff from the general population
This set the conditions for opaqueness that have plagued us ever since. //
time constraints, competing values, and everyday routines together thwart the rational intentions of well-meaning consumers (Røpke 1999)
- assigning primary responsibility for system change to individual consumers is anathema to transformative change (Maniates 2001, 2019)
This can be broken down into three broad categories of reasons:
- Rebound effects
- increases in consumption consistently thwart
effciency-driven resource savings across a wide variety of sectors (Stern 2020).
-sustainability scholars increasingly critique “effciency” both as:
- a concept (Shove 2018)
- as a form of“weak sustainable consumption governance” (Fuchs and Lorek 2005).
- Many argue that, to be successful, effciency measures must be accompanied by initiatives that limit overall levels of consumption, that is, “strong sustainable consumption governance.
- Rebound effects
hese challenges demand an ethos not of technologicalcleverness, but of social prudence, of acting with humility and cautionwhen confronted by risk and uncertainty. The French philosopherHans Jonas calls this the “imperative of responsibility.”
// - see also Kevin Anderson's presentation on "The Ostrich and the Phoenix" - https://jonudell.info/h/facet/?max=100&expanded=true&user=stopresetgo&exactTagSearch=true&any=ostrich+and+the+phoenix - humans opt for the just-in-time techno path because we can "kick the can down the road" and procastinate and allow the next generation deal with the problem - As Anderson shows, there isn't enough time for renewable energy to scale to make a difference in the short term and the difficult social problem of massive social behavior change is unfortunately the best way to solve the problem - the allure of technology is that it can fix any problem - the reality is that last generation's technology is unfortunately often the source of this generation's problems - technology not only produces progress, but the unintended consequences produce progress traps which become the inspiration for new technology in an endless cycle of self-created problems giving rise to avoidable solutions
- myth of sustainable consumption
- Ostrich and the Phoenix
- techno fixes
- myth of consumer sovereignty
- Kevin Anderson
- Imperative of Responsibility
- Hans Jonas
- avoidable solution
- myth of technology as savior
- Industrial Revolution and alienation
- Jevon's paradox
- attitude-behavior gap
- behavior-impact gap
- rebound effects